National Farmers Federation president Fiona Simson. Picture: Simon Santi/The West Australian
National Farmers Federation president Fiona Simson. Picture: Simon Santi/The West Australian

Farmers want ‘exit packages’

Farmers are urging the federal government to pay council rates for businesses affected by drought and offer exit packages for those wanting to leave the land.

The proposals are part of a national drought policy to be released by the National Farmers' Federation on Wednesday.

The policy will also call for a focus on long-term drought preparedness and resilience to correct a pattern of "ad hoc" state and commonwealth measures.

The NFF wants a permanent drought committee made up of federal and state ministers and industry figures to oversee national policy, and a drought forum to be convened once every few years.

NFF president Fiona Simson said the exit packages would soften the blow for farming families devastated by drought.

"We know that, sadly, the fact of drought is that some businesses fail," she told The Australian on Wednesday.

"It would ease the burden in making a difficult decision at a really difficult time."

The NFF also suggests a two-year interest-free period for government loans, and the consideration of payroll subsidies for farming businesses equal to the Newstart allowance.

Meanwhile, Nationals MPs are pushing a 10-point plan that includes for more money for drought funding.

The money would be used to pay for fodder, municipal rates, quarantine fees, boarding school fees and costs.

The National Party wants to establish community committees made up of mayors and local community leaders, who would oversee the distribution of grants for capital projects.


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